Work Of The Week: It's not called getting old. It's called Alzheimer's.

Work Of The Week: It's not called getting old. It's called Alzheimer's.

Here are the facts from The Alzhemier's Society.

There are currently around 900,000 people with dementia in the UK

This is projected to rise to 1.6 million by 2040.

209,600 will develop dementia this year—that’s one every three minutes.

70 per cent of people in care homes have dementia or severe memory problems.

There are over 42,000 people under 65 with dementia in the UK.

More than 25,000 people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups in the UK are affected.

So, the more we talk about and learn about dementia, the better.

It's hard not to be drawn in by this short film starring a couple in their later life going about their business. It's warm and familiar and we can all see ourselves, our parents, our grandparents in it.

The woman asks what time they need to leave tomorrow. We don't know what for—it doesn't matter.

The next frame shows the couple again, in a different situation, at a different time, doing something different. The woman asks again, 'What time shall we leave tomorrow?'.

Each time she asks, her husband replies. We all know that they need to leave at 8.

She asks again. He says 8. Again.

When he is asked a third time, he sounds exasperated when he replies. When she asks a fourth time, he realises what is happening. 

The realisation.

I think what hit me first, and hardest, was the moment of realisation on his face when he works out why his wife is asking the same thing over and over. The pain is so apparent and his compassion towards her in that moment is both reassuring and heart-breaking at the same time.

I find it understated, meaningful and quietly impactful.

It's like a heavy boulder following you down a hill. You don't hear it until the last moment, then you look round and it crushes you.

The signs can be subtle and can clearly reveal themselves over time, but memory is one of the key markers and perhaps the most well known of symptoms. 

As the campaign moves forward -  which I hope it does - I hope to see the work address the other, lesser known signs of dementia; struggling to make decisions, anxiety and depression, irritability and problems sleeping. 

If more people know the signs and symptoms, the more likely we are to spot them and have an early diagnosis. 

There are many examples of creative work tackling this kind of subject matter, but few that approach it with such a gentle touch.

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